Severe tooth decay is a condition that requires immediate attention to salvage the afflicted area and prevent widespread damage. If you are experiencing tooth pain and sensitivity, these might be signs of an infection that might call for a root canal. Learn more about the procedure and how we can help protect your oral health.

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How to Tell if You Need Root Canal Treatment

Not all causes of tooth decay will progress to extreme cases, and milder forms don't require root canals. However, this condition can go from moderate to severe when left unchecked, undiagnosed, or untreated.

Symptoms of Advanced Decay

Our teeth contain multiple layers - the hard, protective shell called enamel, a softer surface containing nerve endings called dentine, and at the center, there's the pulp, a bundle of of blood vessels and nerves that are the lifeline of your tooth. Conditions of advanced decay can affect the inner soft tissues of the tooth, causing severe pain, discomfort, and threatening to kill the tooth altogether.

Here are some other common symptoms that may signify advanced tooth decay:

  • Tenderness in gingiva
  • Tremendous pain in gums or tooth
  • Dark gums
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Bumps appearing on your gums
  • An abscess
  • Swollen gingivae

Keep in mind that pain is often the last symptom of gum disease, and a sign that you should seek help right away. Even if it turns out to be nothing serious, it's better to be safe than sorry.

The Root Canal Treatment

A root canal treatment, also called root canal therapy or endodontic therapy, effectively removes decay and saves your teeth. Endodontists typically perform these procedures, and their name has a Greek origin.

"Endo" is the Greek translation of inside, and "odon" means tooth. Therefore, these skilled professionals operate on the inside of the tooth where the dentin, pulp, nerves, and blood vessels are. Advanced decay can affect these parts of the tooth, and an endodontist's primary focus is to remove it before the following problems occur:

  • Severely damaged teeth that need extraction
  • Jawbone loss or deterioration
  • Facial swelling spread from gum inflammation
  • An abscess that begins dripping pus

Once the procedure is complete, we will thoroughly cleanse the interior of the tooth. This is in case bacteria or other microscopic particles have entered the cavity during the procedure, which could cause problems in the future.

The final step is to fill and seal the tooth. We'll make sure the filling matches your natural tooth and that the sealant is smooth to avoid discomfort or rough edges. These are often complete in a single visit, but a second appointment may be necessary in some instances.

Do You Need a Root Canal?

If you believe you are experiencing pain resulting from tooth decay, please complete our new patient forms and use the appointment maker to schedule a visit. We look forward to providing you the care you need!

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